My Big Job for the Day: Winter Mulching the Roses

December 11, 2010

WHEN THE GROUND FREEZES SOLIDLY IN DECEMBER, I know it’s time to mulch my roses. Mulching keeps their roots cold and unstimulated, should a freakish warm spell occur between bouts of frigid weather. Furthermore, this insulating blanket ultimately improves the soil: (click photos to enlarge)

As you can see from the photo up top, when I mulch, I do a thorough job of it. The individual plants receive an 18- 24-inch mounding of shredded leaves, while the areas between them receive 6- 10-inches of covering (see photo below). This in-between covering does wonders to mitigate the need for weeding during the summer months.

Why do I use shredded leaves for mulch? Well, first because they are entirely free; and next, because they produce the very finest top-soil in the world — leaf mold. Leaf mold is pure humus. I can tell you that after 5 or 6 years of winter-mulching with leaves, my rose beds are chock full of worms and nutrients, the beds are well-aerated and water-retentive, and consequently a pure joy to work in. In fact, it’s hard to believe that my rose garden was once an asphalt parking lot.

Winter-mulching was my big job for today. What’s happening in your garden?

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From Parking Lot to Paradise
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Leaves, Leaves, Beautiful Leaves!
Topping Off the Veggie Beds: 2 Down and 10 To Go


  1. Andrew Thompson says:

    Kevin, I follow the same routine as you. It's the lack of mulch that causes so many roses (and maybe other perennials too) to die over winter.

  2. Adele says:

    What's happening in my garden? I haven't a clue! It's covered with a foot of snow!!!

  3. Adele – yes, I heard that all gardens in the midwest have disappeared! No snow here (yet) but 2 inches of rain falling today.

  4. Barry says:

    If that was a parking lot before you turned it into a rose garden, then leaves must be the panacea for all garden ills! It really looks beautiful.

  5. Barry – Welcome to A Garden for the House. Yes, I believe leaves ARE the panacea for poor soil!

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